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xxii Journal of the Anthropological Society.
considerable difference in the apptearance of the people in different
districts. At Calne, gray eyes and dark hair are prevalent; about
Wilton, the people are fair, and have the Teutonic form of head ; at
Southampton, the type is fairer than among the majority of the
people of Wiltshire, and on approaching the focus of the Saxon inva-
sion, Teutonic resemblances become stronger. Mr. Blake had asked
whether the differences he had observed had any relation to the
differences that might have existed between the Belgte and the
Dobuni. He was not prepared to say he had found such differ-
ences. Both north and south of the Belgic frontier there was a
mingling of dark and fair. Mr. Bowland Williams had said of the
people of S.W. Wiltshire, that neither Saxons nor Celts, but pre-
Celtic he thought them ; and if there were any relics of the Belgse,
they would be found there. With respect to the characteristics of the
people of Milford Haven, he had seen few of them : the Teutonic
type did occur there, and the natives all testified to the distinction
of l'ace : but judging from the family names he did not think the
prior Welsh population had been completely expelled. As to the
prevalence of diseases among people of distinct complexions, he had
paid some attention to that subject, but he considered it was one that
belonged rather to medical science than to anthropology. In an article
in the British Medical Journal, two years ago, lie had expressed the
opinion that consumption is not more prevalent among fair -haired
persons than among those with black hair. Those who were least
liable to that disease he thought were persons whose hair is of an
intermediate colour. Cancer generally attacks persons with black
hair, while light haired individuals are most liable to skin diseases.
With regard to the term melancholic temperament, he meant by it to
express something answering to the description given of it by the
ancients, and it was generally accompanied with black or dark hair
and a dark complexion, hypochondriacs being often found in that
class. Sanguine people (who are often red-haired), on the contrary,
often go on suffering, even to the point of death, without making any
complaint ; and it is difficult to make them comprehend that they are
in danger. Whether ,fair -haired people adapt themselves to change of
climate better than those who have dark hair, is a question of extreme
importance and should be carefully investigated. He must confess he
had heard the opinions that had been expressed on the subject with
some surprise; for the impression on his mind was that most of the
recent African travellers have dark complexions.
A paper contributed by Dr. Chamock, " On Cannibalism in Europe,"
was, in his absence, read by Mr. C. Carter Blake.
Cannibalism in Europe. By Bichard Stephen Charnock, Ph. Dr.,
F.S.A., F.B.G.S., F. and Treas. A.S.L.
The discussion last year at the Anthropological Society of London upon
certain remains at Caithness, has opened up the question whether can-
nibalism has ever been practised in Europe 1 The subject is, of course,
Chamock on Cannibalism in Europe. xxiii
unpalatable to Europeans, and perhaps few will be inclined to believe
in it. When, however, it is taken into account that the inhabitants of
Europe were at one time quite as savage as those who have practised,
or who still practise this crime, surely the present generation need not
blush to admit the fact. It may be thought out of place to refer to
fabulous history ; but the question arises, what is, and what is not,
fabulous. Until the discovery of gold in California, El Dorado was
looked upon as a myth. Again, it was customary to scout as fables all
stories of Amazons, or even of an established equality in any nation of
women with men ; but the travels of Captain Burton and Dr. Living-
stone have proved that in parts of Africa such a position is actually
occupied by the female sex at this day.' :; ' In the Homeric poems the
Cyclops are a gigantic, insolent, and lawless race of shepherds, who
lived in the south-western part of Sicily, and devoured human beings, t
We learn from Porphyry, that in Chios and Tenedos, the votaries of
Bacchus sacrificed to him, avOpumov Sicunrovres, tearing a man limb
from limb, and eating him, no doubt, as the w/MXparyaia, or eating
raw flesh, was one of the peculiar rites of the Dionysiac mysteries.
According to Sextus Empiricus, the first laws that were made were
for the prevention of this practice, which Greek writers represent
as universal before the time of Orpheus. "Fabulous history", says
Dr. Brewster, J "is full of accounts of anthropophagi. According
to some authors, to eat human flesh was a primitive and universal
custom. Thus Entremerus informs us, as the passage has been trans-
lated by Ennius (quoted by Lactantius Divin. Institut., vol. c. xiii, p. 59),
that Saturn and Ops, and the rest of mankind in their time, were ac-
customed to feed on human flesh. Satumum et Opem, cceterosque turn
homines humanurn carnem solitos esitare. The first step towards civilis-
ation was the abolition of this barbarous custom ; and Orpheus is
thought to have had the merit of this reformation. What Horace says
concerning him cannot well be understood except as relating to this
practice : — ■
" Csedibus, et victu faedu deterrent Orpheus."
By the poets, the Lsestrygones, the Lamise, the Sirens, and the
Cyclops are all celebrated as infamous Anthropophagi. Circe and
Scylla come under the same character as individuals. A horrid account
is given by Homer of the fate of Ulysses' companions in the Cyclops'
" Torn limb from limb, he spreads the horrid feast,
And fierce, devours it like a mountain beast.
He sucks the marrow, and the blood he drains ;
Nor entrails, flesh, nor solid bone remains."
Though these accounts be overcharged and mixed with fable, there
can be little doubt that they are founded on the manners of the times ;
for we find the same accounts given by grave historians, and authenti-
cated by all the evidence which the nature of the case will admit.
Indeed Diogenes, Chrysippus, Zeno, and most of the stoics main-
* Eawlinson's Herodotus.
t Horn. Od., vi, 5, ix, 106, etc., 190, etc., 240, etc., x, 200. $ Encyc. Brit,
xxiv Journal of the Anthropological Society.
tained that there was nothing unnatural in the eating of human flesh,
and that it was more reasonable to use dead bodies for food, than to
give them a prey to the worms and to putrefaction.
A late French writer'"" says : — "Et d'ailleurs, si Ton considere l'an-
thropophagie sous le point de vue serieux et rationnel qui convient a
notre epoque, il est facile de voir que le crime est dans le meurtre qui
prec&de, et non clans l'acte de manger la chair de son semblable. Cette
chair ne presente pas de difference appreciable avec celle des animaux
que nous employons pour notre nourriture ; et les personnes qui se sont
trouvees dans 1' obligation de s'en nourrir, dans de penibles circonstances,
ne lui out trouve' aucun gout desagreable : les sauvages pretendent
meme qu'elle est fort bonne. lis repondront d'ailleurs victorieusement,
par leur vigueur et leur sant6 l'obust, a ceux qui voudraient faire sup-
poser a cette chair des qualit6s nuisibles, quand meme des exemples
plus recens et plus voisins ne seraient pas la pour d6montrer le con-
traire. Si done, dans les cas ou des individus ou des populations se sont
trouves reduits a se nourrir de chair humaine, on a observe une grande
mortalite, e'est moins a cette nourriture qu'il faut l'attribuer qu'aux
circonstances au milieu desquelles on a ete forc6 d'y avoir recours."
St. Jerome, after stating that the Sarmatse, Quadi, and several other
nations, eat the flesh of horses and foxes, says:t — "What shall I say
of other nations ; when I myself, when young, have seen in Gaul the
Attacoti (by others the Scotch), a British nation, who, though they
might have fed on swine and other animals in the forest, chose rather
to cut off the posteriors of the youths and the breasts of the young
women, and considered them as the most delicious food." To which
Voltaire adds, "Pelloutier, who sought for everything that might do
honour to the Celts, took the pains to contradict Jerome, and to main-
tain that his credulity had been imposed upon. But Jerome speaks
very gravely, and of what he saw. We may, with deference, dispute
with a father of the church about what he has heard ; but to doubt of
what he has seen is going very far. After all, the safest way is to doubt
of everything, even of what we have seen ourselves." The Attacoti in
Britain are said to have inhabited the whole country from Loch Fine,
on the west, to the eastward of the River Leven and Loch Lomond,
and to have been called in ancient British, Mthacoeti, or the men
dwelling along the extremity of the wood. My friend, Mr. C. Carter
Blake states in a private note that the " most correct edition! °f *he
father gives Atticolos, instead of Atticotos"; but this only fixes the
practice to a greater certainty upon the Gaels ; for if the proper form
of the word is Attacoti or Mthacoeti, it would seem to come from the
* Encyc. des Gens du Monde.
f "Quid loquar de cseteris nationibus, qnum ipse adolescentulus in Gallid
viderim Atticotos [Al. Scotos], gentem Bi'itannicam, humanis vesci camibus,
et qnum per silvas porcorum greges pecudumque reperiant, tamen pastormn
nates et fceminarum papillas solere abscindere et has solas ciborum delicias
ai'bitrari." — Hieron., ii, 335 ; Migne, Pairologie, Cursus Completws, t. xxii, 24.
X Edit. Vallarsii, lib. ii, cap. vii, torn, ii, p. 355. See also Buchanan, lib.
ii; Eerum Scoticarum, etc., p. 17; Amm. Marcell., lib. xxvi, c. iv, and lib.
xxvii ; and Hieron. Epist., 69, No. 03.
GliurnocJc on Cannibalism in Europe. xxv
Welsh coed, a wood, whereas Attacoli is more probably from the Gaelic
coille, of the same meaning.
The inhabitants of Iris, i.e. Ireland, were anciently reputed to be
eaters of human flesh.* According to some writers, the Galatfe
who dwelt in Europe also practised this custom, t Speaking of the
Gauls, Diodorus Siculus says : — "The women here are both as tall and
courageous as the men. The children for the most part from their
birth are grey-headed ; but when they grow up to man's estate, their
hair changes in colour like to their parents. Those towards the north,
and bordering upon Scythia, are so exceedingly fierce and cruel that
(as report goes), they eat men like the Britains that inhabit Iris."
Pliny mentions the Essedones as a barbarous people, who eat the flesh
of their friends after death, and made drinking-bowls of their skulls.
Herodotus,:]: who styles them loor/Soves, says : — "When a man's father
dies, all the near relations bring sheep to the house, which are sacrificed,
and their flesh cut in pieces, while at the same the dead body under-
goes the like treatment. The two sorts of flesh are afterwards mixed
together, and the whole is served up at a banquet. The head of the
dead man is treated differently : it is stripped bare, cleansed, and set
in gold. It then becomes an ornament on which they pride themselves,
and is brought out year by year at the great festival, which sons keep
in honour of their fathers' death, just as the Greeks keep theirs. In
other respects, the Issedonians are reputed to be observers of justice ;
and it is to be remarked that their women have equal authority with
the men. Thus our knowledge extends as far as this nation." The
Essedones were a Scythian people, who lived partly in Europe and
partly in Asia,§ but there is no proof that the boundary line in any-
wise affected their habits and customs. Among the Massagetse, who
had a community of wives, when any person grew old, they killed him
and ate his flesh ; but if he died of sickness, they buried him, esteem-
ing him unhappy. The Massagetse were a people of Central Asia ;
but were looked upon as a part of the Scythian nation, which also
inhabited Europe. ||
" In the middle ages, it is time," says a late writer,1T "these stories
of cannibalism were wonderfully enlarged, and people who had not
embraced Christianity were ]jretty generally set down as anthropo-
phagi. When the Lombards invaded Italy at the end of the sixth
century, it was reported of them that they ate human flesh ; and a
century later the same aspersions were cast on the Slavonian tribes.
It became the fashion to bandy the accusation between enemies ;
thus, during the Crusades, the Saracens said the Christians ate
human flesh, as well as the unclean flesh of swine ; while the Chris-
tians on their side maintained that the Saracens ate men, women, and
* See I. Boe'm. Mar. Lex., et Bit. Omn. Gent., Genev., 1620; Diodorus, Sic.
v, chap. ii.
+ Ibid. He calls Ireland, Iris ; a word doubtless corrupted from Ie/jcis.
j B. iv, c. xxvi.
§ See Mela, ii, 1, 4; Plin., H. 1ST., iv, § 26, vii, § 7, and c. xvii, § 19.
|| Cf. Eennell's Geog. of Herodotus, s. x; Arrian, iv, 17; Plin., H. N., v, 9.
IT P. Cyc.
xxvi Journal of the Anthropological Society.
children, and were particularly fond of a sucking Christian babe torn
fresh from the breast of its mother. The giants and ogres of oivr
nursery tales are only the Saracens of the holy wars seen through the
magnifying glasses of tradition and romance. It does not much sur-
prise us that in those rude ages men should try to fix a revolting
practice on their sworn foes, but we can hardly understand why the
minstrels of the Christians should convert their most approved heroes
into cannibals, and praise them for the quantity of infidel flesh they
devoured. Yet our Richard I is put in this predicament by the
author or authors of the romance of Richard Gaeur de Lion. Accord-
ing to the poem, the first symptom of the king's recovery from a dan-
gerous sickness at Acre, was a violent longing for pork, and as pork
was difficult to procure in a Mohammedan country, his cook dressed
him a Turk's head, of which Richard ate with a good appetite, and
felt himself quite well in consequence. After some more repasts of
the same kind, he is made to say —
' King Richard shall warrant,
There is no flesli so nourissant
Unto an English man,
Partridge, plover, heron ne swan,
Cow ne ox, sheep ne swine,
As the head of a Sarezyne !' "
It would doubtless be going too far to assert that in modern times
any European nation or tribe has been addicted to cannibalism. Many
solitary cases have however occurred in different parts of Europe.
According to Reinard,* Tarik (from whom Gibraltar, Jibed Tank, had
its name) killed his prisoners, and served them up as rations to his
troops. "This delicacy," says Mr. Ford, "formed a recliauffe in
modem Spanish bills of fare : the entree was pleasantly called un
guisado cl la Qiiesada, the patriotic nacionales having killed and eaten
part of that rough and tough royalist in 1836." In Germany, during
the reign of Joseph II, gypsies have been known to murder travel-
lers, cut them to pieces, salt and eat them. The history of Milan
furnishes an extraordinary instance of anthropophagy. In that city,
in the year 1519, a woman was broken on the wheel and burnt for
enticing into her house children whom she killed and salted. It
seems she had carried on the practice for a considerable period.
During the late well meant, and at the same time futile attempt to
unite Italians, Greeks, Celts and Germans into what has been absurdly
denominated "Italian nation", numerous instances of cannibalism
have been recorded. One of the most revolting cases that has hap-
pened in France is that of the brigand, cannibal Ferrage. Blaise Fer-
rage, surnamed Seye, was bom at the village of Ceseau in the Com-
minges, where he followed the business of a mason. At the age of
twenty-two he retired to the mountains of Aure, where he took up
his abode in the hollow of a rock, whence he decoyed the peasants,
and having first robbed them, assassinated and devoured them. " II
pr6ferait, disait-on, pour ses repas de cannibale, les femmes, et surtout
* Inv. des Saraoins. f Enoyo. Met.
CharnocJc on Cannibalism in Europe. xxvii
les jeunes filles. Les cadavres des hommes qu'il egorgeait ne pouvaient
satisfaire que sa voracitS, tandis qu'il pouvait commettre un double
crime sur eeux des femmes qui expiraient sous ses coups, et qui,
avant de devenir sa pature, servaient a satisfaire sa Insure. La plus
tendre enfance n'obtenait meme pias grace a ses yeux, et le fer pretait
au besoin son secours a ses attentats."
An account of this monster is found recorded in the Causes Celebres*
He was broken on the wheel on the 13th December, 1782. A still
more horrible case occurred in Scotland in the time of Elizabeth of
England. Sawney Beane, his mistress, and family, lived for twenty-five
years in the county of Galloway in a cavern washed by the ocean.
In the neighbourhood they waylaid travellers, none of whom were
ever afterwards heard of, either living or dead, a circumstance which
created great surprise and alarm in the vicinity. The discovery
was made in the following manner. On one occasion a man and his
wife were attacked whilst passing through a forest. The husband
escaped, having first been compelled to witness the murder of his
wife. Subsequently the king in person, with a force of four hundred
men scoured the country, and, after some difficulty, discovered
the lair of the Sawney family. On entering the cavern, legs, arms,
thighs, hands, and feet of men, women, and children were found
hung up in rows round the walls like dried beef ; and a great many
limbs lay in pickle. There was also discovered a good deal of money,
besides watches, rings, swords, pistols, clothes, linen, etc., thrown to-
gether in heaps. Sawney's family, at the time of their capture, besides
the lord and master, included his wife, eight sons, six daughters,
eighteen grandsons, and fourteen granddaughters, all born in incest.
They were all executed in a most barbarous manner and without trial.
It was reckoned that at least one thousand men, women, and children
had fallen victims to this monster and his family. A full account of
the case, with an engraving of the brigand-cannibal's den, will be found
in Captain Charles Johnson's History of famous Highwaymen. t In
some instances the desire for human flesh appears like other perver-
sions of the appetite, to have been occasioned by disease. MigneJ says :
— ■" Certains hommes sont saisis tout a coup d'une affreuse manie : ils
tuent et devorent leurs semblables. Plusieurs faits de ce genre ont 6t6
recueillies par le professeur Chr. Griiner d'lena. Des femmes enceintes
eprouvent le meme desir. Enfin, cette passion semble quelquefois se
perpe"tuer dans une famille et se transmettre hereditairement, comme
une disposition physique ou morale, des peres a leurs enfants." Thus,
in Germany, one Goldschmidt, a cowherd, who had committed a murder,
and, to prevent discovery, had cut the body in pieces, suddenly felt a
craving for human flesh, and, after devouring the body of the mur-
dered man, afterwards killed an infant in order to gratify his unnatural
longing. Boethius, in his history of Scotland, § mentions an instance
in Angus, where this disease seized a whole family, consisting of a man,
his wife, and children. They had killed and eaten several persons
* l re S., t. iv, 59, Paris, 1835. t London, fol., 1734.
J "Diet. D'Anthrop., t. xliv, p. 1041. § Lib. xviii.
xxviii Journal of the Anthropological Society.
whom they had enticed into their dwelling. They were all sentenced
to be burnt alive except one daughter of tender years, but scarcely had
the latter reached her twelfth year when she was executed for the same
Many cases of cannibalism have been caused by sheer famine. On
the retreat from Moscow the soldiers are said to have been compelled
to eat the bodies of their deceased comrades. Voltaire speaks of one
instance in his own province, attested by Julius Cassar. The latter
was besieging Alexia, in the Auxois. The besieged having resolved to
defend themselves to the last extremity, and wanting provisions, a
great council was assembled, in which one of the chiefs, Critognatus,
proposed that the children should be eaten one after another, to
sustain the strength of the combatants. His proposal was carried by
a majority of voices ; and Critognatus, in his harangue, tells them
that their ancestors had had recourse to the same kind of sustenance
in the war with the Cimbri and Teutones. "One word more on canni-
balism," says Voltaire, in a book which has had considerable success
among the well-disposed, we find the following words to the same effect :
"In Cromwell's time, a woman who kept a tallow-chandler's shop in
Dublin, sold excellent candles, made of the fat of Englishmen. After
some time, one of her customers complained that the candles were not so
good. 'Sir,' said the woman, ' it is because we are short of Englishmen !' "
In 1030 commenced one of the most dreadful famines which has ever
desolated France, and continued for three years. Men, so to say, went
to the chace after men. They attacked one another, not for robbery,
but simply to procure food. During this famine an inhabitant of
Macon, who professed to lodge travellers, was accused of having killed
and eaten no less than forty-eight persons, whose bones were found in
his house. He was burnt alive by order of Othon, Count of Macon. +
But what should we say of cannibalism permitted by the law of the
land. According to the ancient law of Spain, " a father besieged in his
lord's castle, and pressed by hunger, might eat his own son without
incurring any reproach sooner than surrender without his lord's man-
date". This law is referred to in Las Siete Partidas, a code compiled
by Alfonso El Sabio, and will be found in the Quarto, Partida, Tit. xvii,
Ley. viii. I give a free translation of it from the original Spanish.
"A father impelled by hunger and poverty, and having no other
resource may sell or pledge his sons to obtain food ; and the reason is
that he has no other means of preventing death. But there is still
another reason — A father besieged in a castle which he holds of his lord
and pressed by hunger, may eat his own son without incurring any re-
proach sooner than surrender the castle without his lord's order. And if a
father may do this for his lord, a fortiori he may do it for himself. And
this is another right which a father has over those of his sons which are
under his control, and which right the mother does not possess. It
must, however, be understood that a father has no right either to pledge
or sell his son except as a dernier ressort."%
* Partington, Brit. Cyc.
t See Migne, Encyc, Theol., t. i (Diet, des Sciences Pol. et Soc, 1), Paris,
% The original runs thus -. — " Quexado seyendo el padre de grand fambre,
Charnock on Cannibalism in Europe. xxix
It is reported that during the siege of Calahorra by Afranius, the
famine was so terrible the defenders obeyed to the letter this ancient
law, preferring to eat their sons and wives rather than surrender. This
famine has become proverbial in history under the name of Kamhre
Mr. Eeddie said he was not aware what was the real drift of the
paper, for it seemed to relate as much to modern Europe as to the
savages of former times. He much questioned whether the people of
this country, when in a savage state, did eat human flesh. Setting
aside a few extreme cases, it would be found that cannibalism, even
among the lowest races of mankind, was not so predominant as some
people suppose. The fact was, that human flesh did not agree with
them. The Fiji islanders, among whom the practice undoubtedly
prevails to some extent, always go to the medicine-man after having
eaten human flesh. It is unnatural for any creature to eat the flesh
of its own kind ; and the lower animals do not do so as a ride, but
only in exceptional cases. There were, no doubt, exceptions to the
rule in the days of Herodotus, as with us ; but the accounts that had
been given of androphagi, were mere stories or poetical exaggera-
tions, and it was absurd to rest an anthropological discussion on the
illusions of poetical fancy and the tales of old women. The oft-re-
peated statement of St. Jerome proved nothing. He most probably
believed what he narrated, but he might have exaggerated what ap-
peared to him to be the natural characteristics of a savage people. He
hoped that Mr. Pritchard, and those who had had experience among
people reputed to be addicted to cannibalism, would come forward,
and say whether such cases were or were not exceptional.
Mr. Pritchard said that, during his residence in Fiji, he had had
ample opportunity of observing what was the custom regarding the
eating of human flesh, and he could say that they did not do so
from liking it ; but they ate their enemies out of revenge. He had
often heard that they were taken ill afterwards, and it was understood
among them that that was the general effect of eating human flesh.
e auiendo tan grand pobreza, que non se pudiesse acorrer dotra cosa; estonce
puede vender, o empefiar sus fljos, porque aya de que coniprar que coma.
E la razon por que puede esto fazer, es esta : por que pues el padre non ha
oti'O consejo, por que pueda estorcer de muerte el, nin el fljo, guisada cosa es,
quel pueda vender, e acorrerse del precio : porque non inuera el vno, nin
el otro : E aun ay otra razon por que el padre podria esto fazer : ea segund
el fuero leal de Espafla, seyendo el padre cereado en algun Castillo que
touiesse de Sefior, si fuesse tan cuytado de fambre que non ouisse al que
comer, puede comer al fljo, sin mala estanca, ante que diesse el Castillo sin
mandado de su Sefior. Onde, si esto puede fazer por el Sefior, guisada cosa
es, que lo puede fazer por si mismo. E este es otro derecho de poder que
ha el padre sobre sus fijos, que son en su poder, el qual no ha la madre.
Pero esto se puede fazer en tal razon, que todos entiendan manifiestamente
que assi es, quel padre non ha otro consejo, por que pueda estorcer de muerte,
si non vendiere, a emperiare al fljo."
_ * Durd tanto tiempo el sitio de esta c, que sus vec, consumidas las pro-
visiones, despues de haberse alimentado algun tiempo conanimales inmundos,
e hijos y alimentarse con su carne por lo que fue proverbial el hambre Cala-
gurritana.— Madoz, quoting Val. Max., lib. vii, c. vij Sal. Hist., lib. iii, c. i.
xxx Journal of the Anthropological Society.
They were also prevented from doing so by dread of being visited by
the spirits of those whom they had eaten. There were some terrible
stories told of the cannibalism of the Fiji islanders, and he believed
they were facts ; but the motives attributed to the natives were
erroneous. One of the chiefs was said to have had pieces cut out of
living men and eaten them, but it was intended as a warning to their
enemies, and to terrify them. One of the chiefs admitted that he had
often eaten parts of a great many men ; but he said he did it, not be-
cause he liked it, but to frighten his enemies.
Dr. Oaplin alluded to instances of cannibalism, when shipwrecked
mariners were destitute of food and tossed up who should be killed
and eaten. With respect to the taste of human flesh, he believed
it was not different from that of beef; and he mentioned a horrid
practical joke that had been played on a medical student, whose
comrades cut out a piece from a body in the dissecting-room, and had
it fried and served up to him as a beef-steak, which he ate, and
thought very good.
Dr. Beigel observed that there were two questions to be considered ;
first, was there ever a time when cannibalism was practised in Europe ;
and secondly, whether there were single instances of it. The first
point, he thought, had not been proved ; such evidence as had been
brought forward that evening having failed to establish it, and was
not confirmed by history. With respect to the second question, he
thought it was sufficiently proved. He mentioned a case in the
course of his own practice in Silesia, of a young man who murdered
his mother and ate her body. He had killed her in a quarrel ; and
when accused of the crime, he admitted it, but contended that she
had no right to quarrel with him, and that he was justified in killing
and eating her. Dr. Beigel said that he and other medical men ex-
amined the man, to ascertain whether he was insane ; but his mind,
in other respects, seemed to be in a perfectly healthy state, and he
was executed. Cases such as that, however, did not prove that can-
nibalism was ever practised in Europe.
Dr. Seemann adverted to the practice of cannibalism as a medical
agent. He said that mummies were extensively used as medicine
until it became generally known that in most instances Europeans
were using bituminised portions of their own countrymen instead of
the contemporaries of Barneses the Great and other early Egyptian
monarchs. There had been a regular trade in them as medicines,
and great virtues w r ere ascribed to mummy -flesh as a cure for several
diseases. Cannibalism in another form was practised for medicinal
purposes in Denmark and the north of Germany, where it was the
custom to drink human blood for the cure of epilepsy. When criminals
were executed, the blood was caught in a tumbler and drank. He
had seen it done twenty years ago, and believed the practice was
continued to the present day.
Mr. Mackenzie observed, with reference to the use of human blood
as a curative agent, that it might be attributed to the fact that in
ancient times the practice was connected with the belief in the im-
mortality of the soul. It was conceived that by transferring the
Atkinson on Two Australian Skulls. xxxi
blood of those who were dying into living bodies, the latter obtained
their lives. In the middle ages, persons sold their souls under certain
bonds, and made their immortality an article of commerce.
The President brought the discussion to a close, by announcing
that the next meeting would be the last, before the anniversary, at
which new Fellows would be elected.
The meeting then adjourned.
December 19th, 1865.
James Hunt, Esq., Ph.D., P.S.A., F.R.S.L., President, in the Chaib.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.
The names of the following new members were announced : — John
Bennett, Esq., F.B.A.S., 74, Cheapside, E.C.; the Eev. Maurice
Philip Clifford, D.D., 47, Great Ormond Street, W.C.; Samuel Har-
raden, Esq., 32, St. John's Wood Park; W. H. Sherwood, Esq.,
M.B.C.S., Colonial Hospital, Bathurst, Gambia; John Underwood,
Esq., M.D., George Street, Hastings.
The following presents were announced, and thanks were voted for
the same : — On the motions of the human feet ; on the loss of mus-
cular power in the feet ; the foot and its covering, by James Dowie,
Esq., F.A.S.L. (the author). Malay wooden sandal, Cape Town ;
Damara sandal, eland skin sole and koodoo skin thongs ; Bechuana
sandal from Lake Ngami, sole of brindled gnoo and thongs of koodoo ;
Cheeka or loin cloth, goat skin from Lake Ngami ; Piece of giraffe
skin as used by hunters for soles for velschoen ; Bushmen's sticks for
procuring fire by friction; Cap of palm leaf, Lower Zambezi (T.
The names of the following gentlemen nominated as Auditors were
announced : — George North, Esq. ; F. L. Cotton, Esq.
The following papers were then read : —
On Two Australian Skulls. By H. G. Atkinson, Esq., F.G.S., F.A.S.L.
Extract from a letter received by H. G. Atkinson, Esq., F.G.S.,
"They are the skulls of natives of New South Wales, dug up on the
estate of my brother-in-law, Captain Ogilvie, on the Hunter, and
brought home and given to my father by Mr. Cunningham, the author
of a work on that country. I remember his pointing out some in-
dentations in them, and explaining that almost all the same skulls
found of this kind had such on them, arising from their mode of